College of Osteopathic Medicine Faculty Articles


A GIS approach to identifying socially and medically vulnerable older adult populations in South Florida

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The Gerontologist / Oxford University Press

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Purpose of the Study: We define, map, and analyze geodemographic patterns of socially- and medically-vulnerable older adults within the tri-county region (TCR) of South Florida. Design and Methods: We apply principal components analysis (PCA) to a set of previously- identified indicators of social and medical vulnerability at the census tract level. We create and map age-stratified vulnerability scores using a geographic information system (GIS), and use spatial analysis techniques to identify patterns and interactions between social and medical vulnerability. Results: Key factors contributing to social vulnerability in areas with higher numbers of older adults include age, large household size, and Hispanic ethnicity. Medical vulnerability in these same areas is driven by disease burden, access to emergency cardiac services, availability of nursing home and hospice beds, access to home health care, and available mental health services. Age-dependent areas of social vulnerability emerge in Broward County, while age-dependent areas of medical vulnerability emerge in Palm Beach County. Older-adult social and medical vulnerability interact differently throughout the study area. Implications: Spatial analysis of older adult social and medical vulnerability using PCA and GIS can help identify age-dependent pockets of vulnerability that are not easily identifiable in a population-wide analysis; improve our understanding of the dynamic spatial organization of healthcare, health care needs, access to care, and outcomes; and ultimately serve as a tool for health care planning.


Medical Specialties | Medicine and Health Sciences | Osteopathic Medicine and Osteopathy

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